Busting Newsbusters

Nov 1 2012 @ 4:32pm

I tend to ignore the crazies on that site, but when you're called a liar, you have got to respond. Here's Noel Sheppard's accusation:

How does Sullivan create the appearance of a "remarkably successful, historic first term" despite the President's failures? By lying about Obama's record, of course. "Unemployment is lower now than it was when he took office?" No, it's actually the same as when he took office at a rather dubious 7.8 percent rate that likely won't be the case when the Labor Department reports October's numbers Friday.

And how about this doozy later in the piece: "But take his second term away? Back to ballooning, rather than shrinking deficits." Is that what we've seen in the past four years? Shrinking budget deficits? Quite the contrary, Obama has presided over the largest budget deficits in history. As such, how much of a shill must one be to put in print verifiable lies?

Technically 7.8 percent is the same unemployment rate Obama inherited in January 2009, but in his first full month in office, February 2009, it was 8.4 percent and soaring. Compare that with the UK, which has adopted Republican-style austerity. Its unemploymment rate in February 2009 was 7.1 percent; it's now 8.2 percent. In February 2009, Eurozone unemployment was at 8.2 percent; it's now 11.6 percent and rising. The IMF predicts that the US will grow faster next year than any other developed country. Given the implosion the GOP gave Obama, his economic record is the best in the world, even as the GOP in the states and at the federal level did all they could in the last two years to intensify unemployment by laying off state workers at staggering rates.

Second, the deficits have been shrinking, even though that's an incredibly hard thing to do when your revenues are in the toilet because of the recession. Check this graph out. If Obama can get the GOP to deal on revenues, we could easily get a Grand Bargain to lower them much further in the long term. But Romney's plans – as the Economist notes – would balloon the deficit and increase the debt because his huge new tax cuts and ludicrous plans for increasing defense spending cannot be matched by ending even every tax deduction in the code (which he has said he won't). So I hereby request a correction from Newsbusters – on the second question at least. They can nitpick the first one, but my core point remains.